Alumni Spotlight Archive
Monique Hickman, 2007 graduate, Associate in Arts Degree
Student teacher at Proviso East High School.
Last semester at Elmhurst College. Will complete her bachelor’s degree in December of 2010 and will proudly have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with certification in secondary education. Grew up on the West side of Chicago and moved to Westchester, IL her junior year of high school. Attended Triton college from 2005-2007.
I was fortunate to receive the Golden Apple Scholars award in 2007. This award provided me the opportunity to participate in a teaching internship by working with students in urban communities as well as undergoing intense teacher preparation workshops. The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program recruits and prepares bright and talented high school graduates who represent a rich ethnic diversity for successful teaching careers in high need schools throughout Illinois. Upon accepting the scholarship, I agreed to teach within a school of need for five years within an eight year period.
What would you describe as your strong suit?
What have been some obstacles you've had to overcome in pursuit of your educational and career goals?
The cost of obtaining an education. Since I have a twin sister, it was extremely tough for my parents to put two of their children through college at the same time. I didn’t qualify for financial aid, but I received a lot of loans. My philosophy in life is that you’ll always have to pay someone back for something. If you’re going to borrow anything, it should be money that will get you a degree. At the end you’ll be able to pay the loan back and have a degree that you can do something with for the rest of your life.
What has served as a source of inspiration both in your career and in your life?
Strong support from family and friends. I was the first person in my family to ever attend and finish college. My father had to drop out of high school to join the army. He literally forced me to go to school. He wants much more for me! I lead each day with passion and purpose.
How has Triton College impacted your life?
I was impacted by Triton in many ways. First of all, I was in the scholars program. The head of Triton’s English department opened up a world of possibilities for me by informing me about the Scholars program and guiding me through the process. Not only did the scholars program allow me to meet a lot of new people, but it also opened up my eyes to all the wonderful things that I could do with my life.
Secondly, the resources at Triton are amazing. The counselors were there to help me whenever I needed assistance and I was able to become an officer of Phi-Theta Kappa which helped me stay on top of my studies.
Finally, Triton has such a diverse community. Growing up on the West Side of Chicago, I really didn’t know the make-up of the rest of the world. Triton, exposed me to different socio, economic, racial and cultural influences that have helped me in all aspects of my life.
Returning to the Triton community is an amazing feeling, the same community that helped jumpstart my desire to educate students is the same community where I have felt at home and where I recommend others looking to begin their college education.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to pursue a career in your field?
Get a lot of experience student teaching at different levels so you know what grade you would like to teach. Also, if you desire anything in life, never let anyone tell you that you can not reach your dreams. Prove that person wrong and work hard for what you believe to be your purpose in life.
What are your plans for the future?
Teaching in Chicago, teaching overseas (hopefully in the Motherland, Africa) and then heading back to the states and becoming a principal in a school within an urban environment.